UPDATE: Walker upset sex offender slipped through checks - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

UPDATE: Walker upset sex offender slipped through checks

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MADISON, Wisconsin (WXOW/AP) - Gov. Scott Walker says he is frustrated that a registered sex offender who stood next to him during the State of the State speech was not caught during a background check.

Walker reacted Thursday to the news that welder Christopher Barber is a registered sex offender with two felonies and three drunken-driving offenses.

Barber was one of several workers Walker introduced during his speech to illustrate an improving state economy.

Barber was hired by Ariens Co. in Brillion in late 2012. He wore his welding helmet and work gloves on stage with Walker during the speech.

Online court records show Barber has been in and out of jail for much of the past 10 years.

Walker says he assumed a background check had been done, but it had not.

A statement released late Thursday afternoon from the Governor's office said that Barber was a last minute addition to the speech who was recommended by an employer who typically conducts background checks.  In Barber's case, in what the statement called rare cases, Ariens Co. doesn't do background checks on people moving from seasonal to full-time positions.

The statement also said that it is customary for the Governor's office to do background checks on all participants.  Checks were done for every other person mentioned in the speech.

It also said that if the Governor's office had done a proper background check on Barber and found out about his past record, he would not have been invited to participate in the speech.


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